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Linus Pauling, asked at a public lecture how one creates scientific theories, replied that one must endeavor to come up with many ideas, then discard the useless ones. Another adequate definition of creativity, according to Otto Rank, is that it is an "assumptions-breaking process. Creativity is typically used to refer to the act of producing new ideas, approaches or actions, while innovation is the process of both generating and applying such creative ideas in some specific context.

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In the context of an organization, therefore, the term innovation is often used to refer to the entire process by which an organization generates creative new ideas and converts them into novel, useful and viable commercial products, services, and business practices, while the term creativity is reserved to apply specifically to the generation of novel ideas by individuals or groups, as a necessary step within the innovation process.

Although the two words are novel, they go hand in hand. In order to be innovative, employees have to be creative to stay competitive. The study of the mental representations and processes underlying creative thought belongs to the domains of psychology and cognitive science. A psychodynamic approach to understanding creativity was proposed by Sigmund Freud, who suggested that creativity arises as a result of frustrated desires for fame, fortune, and love, with the energy that was previously tied up in frustration and emotional tension in the neurosis being sublimated into creative activity.

Freud later retracted this view. Graham Wallas, in his work Art of Thought , published in , presented one of the first models of the creative process. In the Wallas stage model, creative insights and illuminations may be explained by a process consisting of 5 stages:.

In numerous publications, Wallas' model is just treated as four stages, with "intimation" seen as a sub-stage. There has been some empirical research looking at whether, as the concept of "incubation" in Wallas' model implies, a period of interruption or rest from a problem may aid creative problem-solving.

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Ward [8] lists various hypotheses that have been advanced to explain why incubation may aid creative problem-solving, and notes how some empirical evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that incubation aids creative problem-solving in that it enables "forgetting" of misleading clues. Absence of incubation may lead the problem solver to become fixated on inappropriate strategies of solving the problem.


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Wallas considered creativity to be a legacy of the evolutionary process, which allowed humans to quickly adapt to rapidly changing environments. Simonton [11] provides an updated perspective on this view in his book, Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity. Guilford [12] performed important work in the field of creativity, drawing a distinction between convergent and divergent production commonly renamed convergent and divergent thinking.

Convergent thinking involves aiming for a single, correct solution to a problem, whereas divergent thinking involves creative generation of multiple answers to a set problem. Divergent thinking is sometimes used as a synonym for creativity in psychology literature. Other researchers have occasionally used the terms flexible thinking or fluid intelligence, which are roughly similar to but not synonymous with creativity. Believers in this trinity hold all three elements necessary in business and can identify them all in "truly creative" companies as well.

Koestler introduced the concept of bisociation —that creativity arises as a result of the intersection of two quite different frames of reference. In , Finke et al. Weisberg [14] argued, by contrast, that creativity only involves ordinary cognitive processes yielding extraordinary results.

Creativity - An Overview/Creativity - Wikibooks, open books for an open world

In the '90s, various approaches in cognitive science that dealt with metaphor, analogy and structure mapping have been converging, and a new integrative approach to the study of creativity in science, art and humor has emerged under the label conceptual blending.

In everyday thought, people often spontaneously imagine alternatives to reality when they think "if only Jacques Hadamard, in his book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field , uses introspection to describe mathematical thought processes. In contrast to authors who identify language and cognition, he describes his own mathematical thinking as largely wordless, often accompanied by mental images that represent the entire solution to a problem.

He surveyed of the leading physicists of his day ca. Many of the responses mirrored his own. The same has been reported in literature by many others, such as Denis Brian, [19] G. Hardy, [20] Walter Heitler, [21] B. To elaborate on one example, Einstein, after years of fruitless calculations, suddenly had the solution to the general theory of relativity revealed in a dream "like a giant die making an indelible impress, a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clear vision. Hadamard described the process as having steps i preparation, ii incubation, iv illumination, and v verification of the five-step Graham Wallas creative-process model, leaving out iii intimation, with the first three cited by Hadamard as also having been put forth by Helmholtz: [24].

Marie-Louise von Franz, a colleague of the eminent psychiatrist Carl Jung, noted that in these unconscious scientific discoveries the "always recurring and important factor Fredrickson in her Broaden and Build Model suggests that positive emotions such as joy and love broaden a person's available repertoire of cognitions and actions, thus enhancing creativity. According to these researchers, positive emotions increase the number of cognitive elements available for association attention scope and the number of elements that are relevant to the problem cognitive scope.

On the other hand, some theorists have suggested that negative affect leads to greater creativity.


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A cornerstone of this perspective is empirical evidence of a relationship between affective illness and creativity. In a study of 1, prominent 20th century individuals from over 45 different professions, the University of Kentucky's Arnold Ludwig found a slight but significant correlation between depression and level of creative achievement. In addition, several systematic studies of highly creative individuals and their relatives have uncovered a higher incidence of affective disorders primarily bipolar disorder and depression than that found in the general population.

Three patterns may exist between affect and creativity at work: positive or negative mood, or change in mood, predictably precedes creativity; creativity predictably precedes mood; and whether affect and creativity occur simultaneously. It was found that not only might affect precede creativity, but creative outcomes might provoke affect as well. At its simplest level, the experience of creativity is itself a work event, and like other events in the organizational context, it could evoke emotion.

Qualitative research and anecdotal accounts of creative achievement in the arts and sciences suggest that creative insight is often followed by feelings of elation. For example, Albert Einstein called his general theory of relativity "the happiest thought of my life. In contrast to the possible incubation effects of affective state on subsequent creativity, the affective consequences of creativity are likely to be more direct and immediate.

In general, affective events provoke immediate and relatively-fleeting emotional reactions. Thus, if creative performance at work is an affective event for the individual doing the creative work, such an effect would likely be evident only in same-day data. Another longitudinal research found several insights regarding the relations between creativity and emotion at work. First, a positive relationship between positive affect and creativity, and no evidence of a negative relationship.

The more positive a person's affect on a given day, the more creative thinking they evidenced that day and the next day—even controlling for that next day's mood. There was even some evidence of an effect two days later. In addition, the researchers found no evidence that people were more creative when they experienced both positive and negative affect on the same day.

The weight of evidence supports a purely linear form of the affect-creativity relationship, at least over the range of affect and creativity covered in our study: the more positive a person's affect, the higher their creativity in a work setting. Finally, they found four patterns of affect and creativity affect can operate as an antecedent to creativity; as a direct consequence of creativity; as an indirect consequence of creativity; and affect can occur simultaneously with creative activity.

Thus, it appears that people's feelings and creative cognitions are interwoven in several distinct ways within the complex fabric of their daily work lives. There has been debate in the psychological literature about whether intelligence and creativity are part of the same process the conjoint hypothesis or represent distinct mental processes the disjoint hypothesis. Evidence from attempts to look at correlations between intelligence and creativity from the s onwards, by authors such as Barron, Guilford or Wallach and Kogan, regularly suggested that correlations between these concepts were low enough to justify treating them as distinct concepts.

Some researchers believe that creativity is the outcome of the same cognitive processes as intelligence, and is only judged as creativity in terms of its consequences, i. A very popular model is what has come to be known as "the threshold hypothesis," proposed by Ellis Paul Torrance, which holds that a high degree of intelligence appears to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for high creativity.

Research into the threshold hypothesis, however, has produced mixed results ranging from enthusiastic support to refutation and rejection. An alternative perspective, Renzulli's three-rings hypothesis, sees giftedness as based on both intelligence and creativity. More on both the threshold hypothesis and Renzulli's work can be found in O'Hara and Sternberg. The neurobiology of creativity has been addressed [30] in the article "Creative Innovation: Possible Brain Mechanisms.

Thus, the frontal lobe appears to be the part of the cortex that is most important for creativity. This article also explored the links between creativity and sleep, mood and addiction disorders, and depression. In , Alice Flaherty presented a three-factor model of the creative drive.

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Drawing from evidence in brain imaging, drug studies and lesion analysis, she described the creative drive as resulting from an interaction of the frontal lobes, the temporal lobes, and dopamine from the limbic system. The frontal lobes can be seen as responsible for idea generation, and the temporal lobes for idea editing and evaluation.

Abnormalities in the frontal lobe such as depression or anxiety generally decrease creativity, while abnormalities in the temporal lobe often increase creativity. High activity in the temporal lobe typically inhibits activity in the frontal lobe, and vice versa. High dopamine levels increase general arousal and goal directed behaviors and reduce latent inhibition, and all three effects increase the drive to generate ideas.

Vandervert [32] described how the brain's frontal lobes and the cognitive functions of the cerebellum collaborate to produce creativity and innovation. Vandervert's explanation rests on considerable evidence that all processes of working memory responsible for processing all thought [33] are adaptively modeled by the cerebellum.

Creativity - An Overview/Creativity

The cerebellum's adaptive models of working memory processing are then fed back to especially frontal lobe working memory control processes [36] where creative and innovative thoughts arise. These new levels of the control architecture are fed forward to the frontal lobes. Since the cerebellum adaptively models all movement and all levels of thought and emotion, [40] Vandervert's approach helps explain creativity and innovation in sports, art, music, the design of video games, technology, mathematics, the child prodigy, and thought in general.

Creativity involves the forming of associative elements into new combinations that are useful or meet some requirement. Sleep aids this process. It is proposed that REM sleep would add creativity by allowing "neocortical structures to reorganize associative hierarchies, in which information from the hippocampus would be reinterpreted in relation to previous semantic representations or nodes. A study by psychologist J. Philippe Rushton found creativity to correlate with intelligence and psychoticism.

While divergent thinking was associated with bilateral activation of the prefrontal cortex, schizotypal individuals were found to have much greater activation of their right prefrontal cortex. In agreement with this hypothesis, ambidexterity is also associated with schizotypal and schizophrenic individuals.

Particularly strong links have been identified between creativity and mood disorders, particularly manic-depressive disorder a. She also explores research that identifies mood disorders in such famous writers and artists as Ernest Hemingway who shot himself after electroconvulsive treatment , Virginia Woolf who drowned herself when she felt a depressive episode coming on , composer Robert Schumann who died in a mental institution , and even the famed visual artist Michelangelo.

Several attempts have been made to develop a creativity quotient of an individual similar to the intelligence quotient IQ , however these have been unsuccessful. Guilford's group, [12] which pioneered the modern psychometric study of creativity, constructed several tests to measure creativity in They involved simple tests of divergent thinking and other problem-solving skills, which were scored on:. The Creativity Achievement Questionnaire, a self-report test that measures creative achievement across 10 domains, was described in and shown to be reliable and valid when compared to other measures of creativity and to independent evaluation of creative output.

Some researchers have taken a social-personality approach to the measurement of creativity. In these studies, personality traits such as independence of judgement, self-confidence, attraction to complexity, aesthetic orientation and risk-taking are used as measures of the creativity of individuals. The creativity of thousands of Japanese, expressed in terms of their problem-solving and problem-recognizing capabilities, has been measured in Japanese firms.

Howard Gruber insisted on a case-study approach that expresses the existential and unique quality of the creator. Creativity to Gruber was the product of purposeful work and this work could be described only as a confluence of forces in the specifics of the case. Creativity has been studied from a variety of perspectives and is important in numerous contexts. Most of these approaches are undisciplinary, and it is therefore difficult to form a coherent overall view. Creativity comes in different forms.

There are kinds to produce growth, innovation, speed, etc. There are four "Creativity Profiles" that can help achieve such goals. Francois Jullien in "Process and Creation, " is inviting us to look at that concept from a Chinese cultural point of view. Fangqi Xu [52] has reported creativity courses in a range of countries.

Todd Lubart has studied extensively the cultural aspects of creativity and innovation. Most people associate creativity with the fields of art and literature. In these fields, originality is considered to be a sufficient condition for creativity, unlike other fields where both originality and appropriateness are necessary.

Within the different modes of artistic expression, one can postulate a continuum extending from "interpretation" to "innovation". Established artistic movements and genres pull practitioners to the "interpretation" end of the scale, whereas original thinkers strive towards the "innovation" pole. Note that we conventionally expect some "creative" people dancers, actors, orchestral members, etc. In the art practice and theory of Davor Dzalto, human creativity is taken as a basic feature of both the personal existence of human being and art production.

For this thinker, creativity is a basic cultural and anthropological category, since it enables human manifestation in the world as a "real presence" in contrast to the progressive "virtualization" of the world. Today, creativity forms the core activity of a growing section of the global economy—the so-called "creative industries"—capitalistically generating generally non-tangible wealth through the creation and exploitation of intellectual property or through the provision of creative services.

The creative professional workforce is becoming a more integral part of industrialized nations' economies. Creative professions include writing, art, design, theater, television, radio, motion pictures, related crafts, as well as marketing, strategy, some aspects of scientific research and development, product development, some types of teaching and curriculum design, and more. Since many creative professionals actors and writers, for example are also employed in secondary professions, estimates of creative professionals are often inaccurate.

By some estimates, approximately 10 million US workers are creative professionals; depending upon the depth and breadth of the definition, this estimate may be double. Creativity is also seen as being increasingly important in a variety of other professions. Featuring aliens, kissing cows and flame-throwing women, this wordless comic will be used by McCann to aid its application process when finding and hiring creative talent, based on talent alone.

Robin and Ella, creatives at McCann London and the brains behind Kkaptionn, said: "We both always thought it would be cool to produce our own comic book series, but at the same time wanted to create something with a point of difference that would stand out. Visit www. Creative Boom celebrates, inspires and supports the creative community. A key part of problem solving involves asking yourself the right questions. If you ask yourself the wrong questions, you may get great answers, but they won't solve your problems.

You'll waste a lot of time by not clearly defining what the problem is. Its thorough, six-step framework for problem solving will help you think more clearly:. For example, you may need to determine who's been affected, why it's a concern and what the vision is. This is the part where you switch from what it is to what it might be. It's the ultimate goal you want to achieve. Next, you define specific, observable success criteria. Come up with the essential questions that must be answered to achieve the targeted future. This is different from the standard process of defining the problem because it requires that each problem be phrased as a question, not a statement, which is much more effective.

Compare "We don't have enough in the budget," which is an opinion about the condition, with "How might we increase our budget? Step 4: Generate answers. This step requires making a long list of possible answers to the key strategic questions you generated in step three. What you generate here will lead to steps five and six. Step 5: Forge the solution.

Breaking Through the Barriers: Creative Thinking Tools

Choose the best answer to the key questions you asked. Step 6: Align the resources. Determine what you need to put the solution into play. As a business owner, risk is an ever-present companion. Every day, you make a multitude of decisions, big and small, and they each carry some potential downsides. Here, too, it helps to have a structured approach to think through the possibility of a bad outcome from the decisions you make. Success isn't about avoiding risks; rather, it's about knowing how to mitigate potential risks.

A well-thought out process for assessing the viability of any decisions you need to make comes from Michael Kallet's recently published book, Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills. When looking at the downsides and upsides of a course of action, Kallet adds nine other crucial steps. Some of these are assessing the probability of the downside and knowing your absorption capability — how easy or difficult will it be to absorb or recover from the downside?

You also need to give some thought to controllability — that is, do you have control over the situation? For example, do you have control over the risk of a bad pricing decision? And what about having a mitigation strategy in place? This means having a plan for minimizing the impact of the decision if a downside occurs.

These metrics are milestones you can use to track the progress en route so you can, for example, reallocate resources or make up for delays. This is an easy method to adopt to help you evaluate your potential risks. While no one can predict the vagaries of the future, adopting a systematic thinking approach will give you some peace of mind. It's just smart thinking. One of the most powerful quotes on thinking comes from an anonymous source. It goes like this: "Thought is action in rehearsal. This deep thought will give you an advantage, both in your life and in your business.

Bruna Martinuzzi is the founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd.